Abolition of slavery, drama workshops, Glasgow 2007
© Wendy McMurdo
You may feel that the drama workshops are all that is required: all the pupils have been involved and it has been a good learning experience for them. But you may decide to have a performance - in which case, some pupils could have non-actiing roles and support the actors.

These can be kept very simple. Of course, some schools have theatres or theatre spaces with lighting and sound – but all you really need is a space where everyone can see and hear the pupils.

Pupils might take on any of the roles below:
Director
Writer
Performer/Actor
Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
Wardrobe Manager
Props Manager
Lighting Technician
Sound Technician
Set Designer
You could also have:
Producer
Technical Director
Musical Director
Make-up Artist
Marketing Officer
Front of house staff

Director – runs the rehearsals and ensures that the actors know what they are doing - suggests how a scene should be played but can discuss this with the actors – discusses the lighting and sound effects (if there are any) - should understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team and work to their strengths - should have an overview of the whole performance. (The Director might be the teacher.)

Writer (if using a script) – produces the script – or writes down people’s ideas and helps everyone to create the script – there could be a Team of Scriptwriters.

Performer/Actor – learns the script (this can be action with or without words) - works with the director, other actors, technicians to produce a performance. There can also be a Narrator – who tells or ‘reads’ the story while the actors enact certain scenes.

Stage Manager – helps the Director by making sure things run smoothly - keeps the Book (the prompt book) and notes down all the things that have been agreed by the Director, Actors and Technicians, alongside the Script - can then prompt people if they forget or disagree with earlier decisions.

The SM makes sure that there is good communication between the technicians and actors - that everyone knows what they should be doing during a performance, backstage and onstage.

The SM ensures that props and costumes are in place for the performance and that any sets are ready – but can get help with this. The SM is supported by the Deputy and Assistant SMs.

Deputy Stage Manager and/or Assistant Stage Manager - might have one or both. They are there to support the Stage Manager. If there are no Wardrobe and Props Managers, they can source the costumes and props. They can help the actors in between scenes and ensure that any set changes are done efficiently. The ASM can run errands and take messages. This leaves the Stage Manager free to concentrate on the running of the performance. The Deputy SM will need to stand in for the Stage Manager in a case of illness, so needs to understand the Book.

Wardrobe Manager - looks after the costumes - makes sure that they are ready for the actors - that they are cleaned, repaired and stored properly - might need to source the costumes and accessories - might be good at sewing. There can be Wardrobe Assistants.

Props Manager – looks after the props - makes sure they are ready for the Stage Manager (and actors) and that they are stored safely when not in use - might source the props. If there are lots of props, there can be an Assistant. A prop is any smallish item being used in a performance – something being used by a performer. A prop might be a walking cane or a book, for instance.

Lighting Technician – makes sure that the lighting is all right for the performance. There are some very complex lighting systems – but it could be enough to ensure that the right lights go on and off in the Hall, at the correct times. Could create a lighting plan.

Sound Technician – makes sure that any sounds can be heard, and are heard at the right time – might be responsible for microphones for the main actors or a narrator – might use music and other sounds. There can be Assistants e.g. to work a CD player while the ST keeps an eye on the whole performance.

Set Designer - Sets are things that set the scene for the actors. Performances used to have full sets with backdrops (of rooms or vistas), doors, windows and lots of furniture – but these days, the Set Designer often creates an impression – and might work with the sound and light technicians to do this. A simple set using, for instance, a table and chair as a focus, can be effective. Draped materials might create different shaped spaces

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